Getting Started With Winter Garden Preparation for Spring
If you start preparing garden soil for planting, you'll have a head start on fair weather. This helps you grow an abundant vegetable crop. From brassicas to leafy greens, early spring can be productive.
I start planning in the winter. Ground preparation starts when soil temperatures are around 70F. Planting out seedlings starts in early March in Zone 7.
Even before the ground warms up you can start spreading compost, mulch, and preparing beds. Growth from the winter can be chopped, garden paths can be layered with mulch.
This is my favorite time of the year. I can't wait to start growing. To have a new life after a cold winter. Today's episode covers a quick overview of my approach.
How to Prepare Your Vegetable Garden For Spring
First, when you plant own depends on temperature and the last frost. For a no-till garden, you have more options. Yet, if you use light tillage to end cover crops, you'll do that right before the frost.
Raised beds have other considerations. The key is to time your spring preparations for the best soil biology, the least disturbance, and a quality environment for the plants.
Conduct soil tests in the winter to assess nutrient levels and pH. Order the amendments for optimal plant growth rather than waiting till the spring rush. These supplements can be added to compost for faster uptake.
Layering of organic mulch can protect soil structure from late frosts and freezes. You'll conserve moisture from melting snow as winter makes way for spring. Be mindful of cover crops.
If you have cover crops, and you should, don't bury them in mulch. Instead, top them to use as mulch in other areas of the garden. Prepare to terminate those crops when it is warm enough to plant.
Setting up cold frames is another valuable task. Install cold frames or row covers to start growing cold hardy plants earlier. You can have several garden beds prepared at this point but covered in straw.
Even if it is too cold outside, use a garden journal to plan your spring garden layout. The winter months are perfect for determining companion planting for pest control. Catch up on your reading.
There is so much that can be done during the cold months. Don't let time slip away and cause a spring planting to be rushed. Early preparation gives you the most successful harvest come spring.
Measurable Benefits of Preparing Garden Soil for Planting Vegetables in Spring
Starting early with soil preparation gives you more time to start plants. You'll have more greenhouse starts or a full cold frame without much hassle. No rush when warm weather comes.
Without disturbing the soil, or using shallow tillage, you can terminate crops that don't winter kill. This reduces weeds while reducing any damage to the soil structure.
For some growing spaces, you may want to broad-fork. This loosens up the soil, improves drainage, and prevents the snow melt from making your garden soggy. Speaking of tools.
If you didn't clean all your tools when putting them away in the fall, now is the time. Clean, sharpen, and organize gardening tools. You'll know what you have and be ready to use it when the time comes.
It may seem like there is a lot to do come spring. That's why starting in the spring is so important. You'll remain active, rather than wasting away on the couch watching videos. Now get started.
If you want to get more from your small farm, homestead, or estate, … Justin Hitt is a Permaculture Design Consultant with more than two decades of experience with organic gardening. He teaches the practical application of critical thinking, entrepreneurial ecology, and homestead management. Practical insights for practitioners, estate owners, and homesteaders. To see if his insights are right for you, join our free newsletter.